In a press release dated September 12, 2014, The Satanic Temple (an organization I co-founded and for which I act as spokesperson) announced that it would seek to disseminate Satanic literature to students in the Orange County school district (FL), where the acting board has already allowed for the “passive distribution” of Evangelical materials. Being quite clear regarding our intentions, I stated in the press release that, “[w]e [TST] would never seek to establish a precedent of disseminating our religious materials in public schools because we believe our constitutional values are better served by respecting a strong separation of Church and State. However, if a public school board is going to allow religious pamphlets and full bibles to be distributed to students — as is the case in Orange County, Florida — we think the responsible thing to do is to ensure that these students are given access to a variety of differing religious opinions, as opposed to standing idly by while one religious voice dominates the discourse and delivers propaganda to youth.”
The story caught the attention of the national media, and during subsequent interviews I made certain points quite clear: Read more “Satanic Activity Book Distribution in Schools”
Now that a week has passed since we (The Satanic Temple) announced our Right To Accurate Medical Information initiative — an exemption from anti-abortion “informed consent” laws — we are in a position of sufficient time-passed to appraise the initial public reaction and media response. By and large, the response has been impressively positive, with many outlets simply reporting the facts of our campaign, and various publications, such as Bust Magazine, covering the initiative in an unequivocally positive light.
With the lingering sense of public outrage over the Supreme Court’s ill-conceived Hobby Lobby ruling, it is little wonder that our proposed exemption enjoyed a minor national news trend when announced in a press release headlined with:
“Satanists Leverage Hobby Lobby Ruling In Support of Pro-Choice Initiative”
Predictably, this led to some typical skeptical commentary from some of the usual suspects suggesting that TST is “merely” engaging in a PR ploy, a scheme designed to garner media attention. It’s a bizarre criticism that makes little sense to me, as spokesperson for TST, and my reply to various journalists who have questioned our attention-getting tactics has been consistent: Of course we want to bring attention to this campaign. The exemption letter that our counsel has drawn up is simply worthless if nobody uses it. Naturally, nobody can utilize the letter if they are not aware of it. So, yes, we unashamedly seek maximum attention for our Right To Accurate Medical Information initiative, and we genuinely hope that women in the unenviable position of needing an abortion in a state where “informed consent” laws exist will use the letter as an opt-out from the indignity of compulsory state-mandated misinformation. Read more “Dispatch From the Satanist Battle Against Anti-Abortion Laws”
March 12, 2014, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz — dubbed “The Great Right Hope” by The New Yorker Magazine — addressed a mob of party supporters in Washington with all the indignant and childish rhetoric expected of his aspirations. Raising the specter of pro-abortion Satanists, he referenced an event in Austin, Texas from the previous summer: “Pro-life protesters put their arms around each other and began singing Amazing grace,” he explained, “And the pro-abortion protesters began chanting, ‘Hail Satan.’ You know, there comes a point where you can’t make this stuff up. At least it’s truth-in-advertising! But that is, in fact, what they were doing, arm in arm, chanting, ‘Hail Satan,’ embracing the right to take the life of a late-term child.”
Since 1973’s Roe v. Wade ruling by the Supreme Court of the United States safeguarding the legality of abortion, the conservative religious right has grown increasingly — even violently — hysterical in defining anti-abortion initiatives in terms of apocalyptic significance. Lawmakers (primarily Republican) have steadily introduced bills transparently designed to make the process of receiving an abortion more harrowing, and overall as emotionally and logistically difficult as possible. The debate has been framed of one of life against death, and good against evil. Those who define the issue in terms of personal choice are literally demonized, fingered as conspirators in the Satanic agenda.
The pernicious encroachment of weasel bills imposing “informed consent laws” (requiring women seeking abortion be given false and/or biased scare material dissuading them from their decision), mandatory trans-vaginal ultrasounds, and “Wrongful Birth” bills (effectively allowing doctors to withhold information from a patient that they feel might increase her “risk” of seeking an abortion), are products of this effort to make what is ostensibly legal practically untenable and overly insulting. Read more “Misinformed Consent: counter-balancing anti-abortion weasel bills”
The rationale against child abuse shouldn’t be obscure to any person of average faculty. Beating children is wrong. subjecting children to psychological torture is wrong. Neither should be tolerated, much less sanctioned. While there may be general agreement on these points, 19 states in the US still allow corporal punishment in schools, granting teachers immunity from prosecution for beatings occasionally brutal enough to leave injuries that would find any parent charged with a felony.
An increasing number of public schools nationwide allow the use of solitary confinement — “seclusion rooms” — and physical restraints. While all empirical data supports the conclusion that such treatment of children adversely impacts cognitive and behavioral development, proponents of these forms of abuse can often be found to shamelessly quote the archaic edict that to spare the rod is to spoil the child.
It is one case among many in which traditional values contradict modern sense.
If, at its core, the argument for corporal punishment is rooted in some religious-minded adherence to “traditional values” (and, again, there is no scientific support for its practice, and significant evidence of its long-term harm) then it is worth pointing out that there are no small numbers of individuals who do not subscribe to counter-productive rote customs. Indeed, for many, personal sovereignty is a deeply-held value that is horrifically violated by punitive beatings.
The Satanic Temple (an organization for which I act as official spokesperson) holds among its tenets that “The body is inviolable, subject to one’s own will alone”. Read more “The Satanic Agenda”